Gary Hart for George McGovern

South Dakota Senator George McGovern was the Democratic challenger to incumbent Richard Nixon in the 1972 presidential campaign. The McGovern team were no match for the monkey business of Nixon’s CREEP (Committee for the Re-Election of the President), but they did have Shirley MacLaine and campaign manager Gary Hart.

“I would see Hart, a tall, lean young man of thirty-four, his hair fashionably long, moving around in the lobby, lavishing his attention on the growing army of young workers who were living on peanut butter sandwiches, and who were to be the basis of whatever success McGovern would have.

‘Hell, I’m just a country boy,’ he would say, kicking his boots like Gary Cooper. ‘I think probably after the primary here, I’ll have finished my task for the senator. He’ll win a surprisingly large number of votes and then the pols will move in and take over. I can’t fight that. So I’ll head on back to Colorado.’

But I knew the country boy was in it for the duration. He loved reading military history, and admired Napoleon, and there was a military quality to the way he was organizing the young. No, he would never give up. All through 1970-1971, he had traveled around the country for McGovern, promising a new world to the young, a world that would be free of political hacks, where our latent idealism would be welded to real power… Gary was a shrewd cowboy. There were moments late at night when you wanted to rush in and protect him from all the ruthless manipulators he said were around in the world. Not many people realized that he was more attractively manipulative than anyone else.”

Shirley MacLaine, You Can Get There From Here, The Bodley Head, 1975.

Shirley MacLaine for George McGovern: